Improving InnerAge Like a Pro: CrossFit Games Athlete Cole Sager [VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT]

By Erin Sharoni, December 10, 2015

Sufficed to say, CrossFit Games athlete Cole Sager is among the fittest men in the world. A former running back for the University of Washington Huskies, it may come as no surprise that he'd gravitate toward a world of intense physical competition after his collegiate career. He did so in a big way: Cole finished in the top 20 at the CrossFit Games in his rookie year, trains with renowned coach Ben Bergeron and recently became a full-time CrossFit pro athlete.

Strong and powerful as he is, however, Cole learned that his blood was telling a different tale. "I was super confident that I'd blow all my biomarkers out of the water... I was very surprised to get my results back and see that my InnerAge was quite a lot higher than my chronological age really is. That was alarming!"

You can follow Cole Sager in all of his CrossFit adventures on Instagram @colesager35


Video outline:

00:30 - Cole's journey to blood testing

01:45 - A big surprise in testing: InnerAge

03:00 - The second test - improvements and obstacles

03:40 - Why the high InnerAge? Training volume, sleep & recovery

04:15 - Don't judge a book by its cover!

05:15 - Positive changes Cole experienced

05:45 - Overcoming carb anxiety: shedding fat & gaining energy


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Full video transcript:

Erin: Alright, I'm very excited to be chatting with Cole Sager, CrossFit Games athlete and I mean, you can see by his neck that he's extremely fit. If you google him, I promise any of the photos will do it justice, it's like, "This must be the fittest man on the planet, trust me." But Cole you are one of the fittest people on the planet, so we're super excited to be able to work with you here at InsideTracker. Why don't you tell us how you even came to find out about blood testing and work with us.

Cole: Sure, I've always had a big interest in just nutrition and really kind of trying to find the small things I could be diligent in to get an edge of any sort in my athletic endeavors. And as I started to work with Ben Bergeron, somebody that you guys have a relationship with, I saw him posting a lot of things about InsideTracker on his blog that he post work outs and different programming on and when I wasn't working with him as an athlete, I would go on his blog every once and while and just see what workouts he was doing, if there was any test that I could kind of use to see where my fitness was and so on and so forth. So I started to see InsideTracker just pop up here and there and I thought, 'Oh, I've got this interest'. I was like, 'I want to learn more about these bio markers,' and then I started working with Ben exclusively as an athlete. I'm one of his athletes now and through that relationship he was able to form a relationship between you guys and me and I've been able to, kind of move forward. It's been cool, it's been really cool.

Erin: Yeah, so tell us about that coolness, because I know you've had an interesting process. You tested twice, which is great, so you've actually tracked how you did or didn't do, as we talked about before the call. So why don't you tell us about that?

Cole: Yeah, so I got my first test, I was super confident that I was just going to blow the biomarkers out of the water, I was going to be in all the optimal zones, like I'm a healthy individual, I have no problems. I was very surprised to get the results back and see that my InnerAge was quiet a bit higher than my chronological age actually is. That was alarming. Some of the biomarkers I never would have expected to see as high as they were, but I also come back from a little bit of travel. I traveled for about a month going to several different competitions and then closed off that travel with a week in Hawaii, which was very relaxing but as you can imagine nutrition isn't dialed in.

Erin: It isn't when you're on vacation in Hawaii?

Cole: I know, right? So with that I would assume that that would have some play and give into what my biomarkers were like when I came back for my first test. Anyways so I got my results back and I actually spent some diligent time kind of researching which things would make the largest impacts in my biomarkers for my next test. About a month and a half lalter we did that, and you know, I had been pretty diligent about making some changes to see what that is. Got those results back and a lot of the biomarkers I had originally gotten back that were high or out of my optimal zones, had started started making a shift back to the optimal zones. But some other areas in other biomarkers, just all of a sudden kind of went haywire and had an adverse effect and my InnerAge actually went up on the second test, which again, is alarming, but there's a lot of things to be considered with that. In that month and a half I had a much higher training volume, we'd been dealing with some sleep issues I'd been having, so it's something that we needed to dial in there, kind of be more diligent around my sleep, my recovery, different things like that that could really have a big impact on some of those biomarkers that changed. So we're excited to see where those changes and what those do for my next test.

Erin: Maybe you'll be a little bit younger next time. We hope.

Cole: I would like that. That would be very nice.

Erin: If it makes you feel any better though, you're not the only extremely fit athlete and fit looking athlete that has this issue with InnerAge. So it just goes to show don't judge a book by it's cover, because there are some people who don't look like you and their InnerAge is much younger. But that's why it's important to test, because like you said, you just assumed that well I'm this fit guy, I'm in the cross fit games, look at me, I eat well, I sleep well, I train with Ben, like I do all this stuff and yet, I don't know how old you're going to be age wise but, I think you're 25?

Cole: 25.

Erin: Yeah, and your InnerAge was way above 25.

Cole: It was. A good decade or so. It was alarming.

Erin: You mentioned that there were a couple of biomarkers that started to sort of come back into optimal zone, so I know you had said by the second test that your training volumes increased and there's a lot of other variables, but did you feel anything different? By changing or addressing those interventions? Did you notice any positive impact on how you felt or looked or performed?

Cole: Yeah, how my body looked and felt was kind of the biggest changes that I saw prior to Inside Tracker. That was my mark. It was, how do I look everyday and how do I feel everyday? And so just that being my default measurement, that was still kind of something that I was keeping in touch with. And I felt a lot better, I started adding a lot more oats into my diet, which is actually something that was new for me because I kind of have a carb anxiety as an athlete. Always kind of have and that stems from something back in college. So, I started adding oats and things like that and kind of being a little bit more diligent around nutrient timing, and because of that my body started to shed some fat, so when my biomarkers went down I started to feel better, look better and I felt that my energy within workouts was quiet a bit more. My energy levels were just a little bit higher and I didn't have that mid workout crash that I often times had. Still deal a little bit with crash afterwords, but I think that's a little bit on the recovery side more, so still working on that.

Erin: Well, lots to look forward to and I can't wait to catch up with you next time when you tell me your iInnerAge is 18 and you're regressing like Benjamin Button.

Cole: I'm excited for that too.

Erin: Good luck to you Cole, thank you so much.

Cole: Thanks Erin, I really appreciate it.

 CrossFit Games Athlete Cole Sager

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